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Monday, September 27, 2021

Explained: Who is Anil Parab, the Maharashtra minister summoned by ED?

Anil Parab was inducted into the state cabinet by Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in December 2019.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode , Edited by Explained Desk | Mumbai |
Updated: August 31, 2021 9:29:15 am
Anil Parab gained prominence in 2017 after the Shiv Sena and BJP broke the alliance and fought the Mumbai civic elections separately. (Express Photo: Nirmal Harindran, File)

Maharashtra Transport Minister Anil Parab has been asked to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday.

This comes after Parab was caught on camera directing the police to arrest Union Minister Narayan Rane. BJP had said that it was a case of “blatant misuse” of power and the party was considering legal action against him.

Who is Anil Parab?

Anil Parab, 56, is a three-time Shiv Sena legislator in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, the upper house of the state legislature.

He was inducted into the state cabinet by Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in December 2019.

Parab, an advocate by profession, is known for his loyalty to the Thackerays. Apart from his aggressive political style, he handles the legal issues of the party and plays a crucial role in the civic elections.

He has been the Vibhag Pramukh (divisional head) since 2001 and is the only leader to be entrusted with two divisions, his area of operation spanning the entire region from Bandra to Andheri, a huge stretch of the western suburbs.

So, why has Parab been in the news recently?

Last week, Parab was caught on camera directing police officers to arrest Union Minister Narayan Rane.

Parab, the guardian minister of Ratnagiri, was in a press conference on Tuesday, during which he broke off to have two phone conversations.

During his second call, which was made apparently to a police officer, the state transport minister was heard demanding Rane’s arrest.

“Hello, what are you people doing? But you need to do it. Have you detained him or not? What order are they asking for? The High Court and sessions court have rejected his bail (application)…then use the police force,” Parab was heard saying.

BJP subsequently said that it was considering legal action against the Shiv Sena minister. The party said that Parab was indulging in “blatant misuse” of power by putting pressure on the police to arrest Rane.

But why is Parab under the ED scanner?

Party sources said that Parab has been asked to appear before the ED on Tuesday. But there is no clarity as of now on why Parab has been summoned.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut tweeted, “As expected, Anil Parab has been served a notice by the ED as soon as the Jan Ashirwad Yatra concluded. The central government has started its work. The epicentre of the earthquake was Ratnagiri (referring to Rane’s arrest) and Parab is the Guardian Minister of that district. Please understand the chronology. This is a legal battle which we will fight legally.”

Has Parab faced any corruption allegations earlier?

The Maharashtra minister has been under the scanner after former Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze, in a letter he tried to submit to the NIA court, had claimed that Parab had asked him to carry out extortion to the tune of Rs 50 crore from a private trust.

He also alleged that Parab told him to look into the inquiry against the fraudulent contractors listed in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and asked him to collect “at least Rs 2 crore” from about 50 such contractors.

Parab has denied all the allegations.

A suspended motor vehicle inspector of the Nashik Regional Transport Office (RTO) Gajendra Patil had also accused Parab and six officers of corruption, amounting to multiple crores, in connection with transfers and postings in the RTO.

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Why is Parab so important to the Shiv Sena?

Parab gained prominence in 2017 after the Shiv Sena and BJP broke the alliance and fought the Mumbai civic elections separately. During the elections, Parab countered all the attacks of the BJP, including its attempt to corner Sena over the allegations of corruption in BMC.

Within months, Parab was named as the party’s group leader in the legislative council by sidelining senior party leaders.

Over the years, Parab’s closeness with Matoshree increased, and he gained the confidence of the party chief Uddhav Thackeray by playing important roles in the party. He also played a key role in the party’s election strategies for the Lok Sabha and the state assembly polls in 2019.

In December 2019, Thackeray sidelined the senior leaders and offered the ministerial berth to Parab. Since then, he has emerged as the troubleshooter for the party and has been attacking the BJP over several issues.

The party leadership consults Parab on all important matters, such as issues of housing, legal, BMC, governance, and anything else which is of significance to the party.

Due to the crucial role he has been playing since his induction into the state cabinet in 2019 and because of his loyalty to the Thackerays, Parab has often found himself in the line of attack by the Opposition.

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